A Summary of Design, Policies and Operational Characteristics for Shared Bicycle/Bus Lanes

bicyclist riding on an urban street(Center Identification Number: 77937)  This report contains the results of an investigation of the design and operation of shared bicycle/bus lanes in municipalities in the United States and other countries. These lanes are designated for use by public transit buses, bicycles, and usually also for right-turning vehicles. Some municipalities may also allow use of these lanes by taxis and delivery vehicles. The purpose of such lanes is to provide a time advantage to public transit service by taking the buses out of the general traffic flow and into a designated lane. Where constrained right-of-way prevents provision of a separate bicycle lane, the intent is to allow bicycles to use the designated bus lane. This is to provide a more direct route for bicyclists, provide greater level of service to bicyclists and provide some degree of space separation between general traffic and bicyclists for their greater safety and comfort. However, this combined use raises many issues of compatibility of bicycles and buses sharing the same road space. The limited available research on the subject of shared bicycle/bus lanes includes informative investigations from the Minneapolis Public Works Department, Minnesota; the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Pennsylvania; the City of Ottawa, Canada, the Department for Transport of the United Kingdom and from Austroads, Sydney, Australia. Investigators compiled a list of shared bicycle/bus lanes in cities in the United States and Canada, including facility attributes that are presented in an appendix. Researchers found very few examples of state-level guidance on shared bicycle/bus lanes but more examples at the local and regional levels. These are provided in the report. Through surveys and interviews, the shared bicycle/bus lanes from four cities in the United States were selected for in-depth examination and were developed into case studies: Ocean City, Maryland; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. As a result of this investigation, an identification and discussion of the contextual factors, design variables, and tools for planning and implementing shared bicycle/bus lanes is presented. The report provides recommendations for further needed research. Download the final report.  Research conducted by Edward L. Hillsman, Ph.D., Sara Hendricks, AICP, and JoAnne Fiebe. For more information, contact Sara Hendricks, AICP at hendricks@cutr.usf.edu.

  1. I briefly reviewed your extensive and thorough report on the new concept of shared bus and bicycle lanes, relatively uncommon in the US. I agree with your goals to increase transit ridership, bicycle ridership, reduce traffic congestion, reduce admissions and improve quality of life.

    My initial reaction is that the concept of the bus and bicycle lane sharing is probably unsafe, especially with the incidents of motor accidents and disabilities. I checked the University of Wisconsin-Madison table and they indeed have heavy bicycle ridership and no longer use the shared concept but a clearly designated blue highlighted lane.

    Thank you; I was on transportation and disability (with a little sustainability in the mix).

  2. Ms. Racino: Thank you for your interest and comment about the Shared Bicycle/Bus Lane study. It certainly is a controversial design concept and I hope our study stimulates more discussion and evaluation of it.

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